KFNA Treads Familiar Ground on Issues Around Dog Park and Honoring King's Memory
Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board John Erwin said the board would be amenable to a proposal to host a farmer's market in King Park, among other suggestions for improved facilities.
At Wednesday's board meeting of the Kingfield Neighborhood Association (KFNA), members sought to move forward from recent divisiveness over the proposed off-leash dog area in Martin Luther King Park.
But the neighborhood group is still tied to vocal supporters of the dog park in the form of the Kingfield Dog Park Task Force. Despite some board member's concerns, members of the task force will occupy both of the neighborhood group's seats on the Minneapolis park board's Citizen Advisory Committee, as well as the seat dedicated to the dog park task force.
The advisory committee was formed last week to recommend an off-leash dog site in the 6th park district—it includes members from neighborhood organizations and groups like Citizens in Action, which opposed the King Park off-leash area.
Chris Sur, KFNA’s President of the Board, said that there has been some tension between the task force and the board. While the task force appreciates the support of KFNA, Sur said, they want less supervision. The problem, Sur said, is that currently the task force is a KFNA entity, and the board is responsible for what they say and do.
“There’s been some chafing over that,” he said. There was some discussion, he said, over whether the task force would become it’s own entity, particularly now that an off-leash area at King Park has been ruled out. However, the task force has expressed a desire to remain a KFNA entity.
Sur said it made sense that Brook Lemm-Tabor, who is both a KFNA board member and also a member of the task force should have one of KFNA’s spots. Another task force member, Ben Harris, requested to have KFNA’s other seat, though he is not a Kingfield resident (he lives in Bryant). “Honestly I have mixed feelings,” Sur said, “It’s a bit presumptuous for the task force to basically say they should have three seats and KFNA should have none.”
In the end, the board voted to select a different member of the task force, Jeff Spencer, to represent KFNA along with Lemm-Tabor because Spencer is a Kingfield resident.
Park Board Would be Agreeable to a Farmer's Market at King Park
At the end of the board meeting, Park Board Commissioners John Erwin and Brad Bourn arrived to talk to the KFNA board about the future of King Park and discuss ways to improve it, as well as increase neighborhood use of the park. The park board recently planned three community brainstorming sessions about how to develop the park.
Some ideas that were talked about the meeting included adding picnic tables, fire pits, mobile movies, community gardens, and possibly bringing a farmer’s market back to the park. Though in the past the park board has not approved a farmer’s market in the park, John Erwin said the current board would be agreeable to the idea.
KFNA board member Scott Bordon said that from his perspective has a parent, King Park is a tremendous resource. “I bring my daughters to the park all the time. They swim in the pool. I volunteer at soccer tournaments," he said. "There’s a good park director and good staff—I think it’s a great place."
He said he supports increasing the prevalence of King’s memory at the park, and liked the idea of a stone or plaque to give context to the abstract sculpture that currently sits in the park.
Erwin pointed out that changes have already been made, including increasing the hours that the parks are open. The recreation center is now open until 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday nights for youth programs.
Bordon thanked the Park Board commissioners for coming to the meeting. He said that their expertise and resources will be helpful going forward for plans for creating an King Park where all the people of the neighborhood can find common ground.